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Open Data for Agriculture Meeting Focuses on Global Food Security

Later this month, Secretary Vilsack will lead the U.S. Delegation to the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture held in Washington, DC. The conference will bring together innovators from all over the world to discuss the importance of open agricultural data to increased food security across the globe, as well as in opening doors for public/private partnerships and economic growth.   Below, Marshall Matz, former Counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee and founder of Friends of the World Food Program details some of the goals of this year’s conference and his vision for ag data’s role in a more food secure world. Read more »

Great Lakes Greenhouse Gives Native Plants a Second Chance

Volunteers help harvest native seedlings at the Hiawatha National Forest greenhouse in Marquette, Mich. U.S. Forest Service photo.

Volunteers help harvest native seedlings at the Hiawatha National Forest greenhouse in Marquette, Mich. U.S. Forest Service photo.

Biologists have long recognized the important role native plants play in maintaining a healthy forest. When native plants are crowded out by invasive plants, those native species can suffer to the point of extinction.

Since the early 1990s, the Hiawatha National Forest has operated a greenhouse in Marquette, Mich. The idea is to provide both native seeds and seedlings for successful restoration of sites impacted by logging or disturbed by other land management activities. For instance, when aging culverts are replaced, native plants can be introduced to re-vegetate disturbed soil. Seeds and seedlings are also used to enhance existing wildlife habitats. Read more »

Tunnels Mean Extended Growing Season in Tennessee

Easy to build, maintain and move, high tunnels provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season and provide fresh food for local communities. NRCS photo by Michelle Banks.

Easy to build, maintain and move, high tunnels provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season and provide fresh food for local communities. NRCS photo by Jason Hughes.

Janet Mahala runs an organic farm nestled in a small valley in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. Last year she started a Community Supported Agriculture membership program on her farm. Shortly thereafter she expanded production with a high tunnel which has extended her farm’s growing season by several months. Read more »

Asian ‘Top Chef’ Competitions Showcase U.S. Ingredients

Chefs prepare dishes using Alaskan seafood during the Shanghai preliminary competition Mar. 6-8, 2013.  The “United Tastes of America – Asian Chef Challenge” competitions aim to promote U.S. products among the food service sectors and consumers in these Asian markets as well as highlight the skills of creative Asian chefs. (Courtesy Photo)

Chefs prepare dishes using Alaskan seafood during the Shanghai preliminary competition Mar. 6-8, 2013. The “United Tastes of America – Asian Chef Challenge” competitions aim to promote U.S. products among the food service sectors and consumers in these Asian markets as well as highlight the skills of creative Asian chefs. (Courtesy Photo)

In the United States, “March Madness” refers to the frenzied college basketball tournaments where teams must win or go home. Culinary masters throughout Asia experienced their own version of “madness” in March by squaring off in the kitchen for a chance to compete in the inaugural “United Tastes of America – Asian Chef Challenge.” The finals of the competition will take place at the 2013 Taipei International Food Show’s USA Pavilion in June. Read more »

SuperTracker Announces New My Foods Feature

It’s been a little over a year since we first launched SuperTracker, and in that time we’ve loved hearing from our now over 2 million registered users – what they like about the site and ideas to make it better. We’re excited to announce a new SuperTracker feature that is based on user feedback!  It’s now possible to create My Foods – customized versions of SuperTracker foods with nutrition information that you enter.  When you search for a food in Food Tracker, just click on “customize” in the left hand column and Create My Food pops up. Nestlé Water North America created an educational Daily Buzz TV segment which reached 1.2 million viewers, as well as two Audio News Releases, which aired on nearly 1,900 stations.

Read more »

Rain, Snow or Shine – Spring Foods Are Here!

Spring foods infographic (click for larger version) with more facts, figures and food safety tips.

Spring foods infographic (click for larger version) with more facts, figures and food safety tips.

Although in some parts of the country record snow fall and colder temperatures have masked it—spring is officially here.  With the change of seasons come traditions and observances that date back to ancient times, many focused on growth, new life and change.  Among these traditions are some holiday and seasonal mainstays that evolved because of more practical reasons, like the process involved in making them or their chemical properties. Read more »